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Extent of Corruption in Countries Around the World Tied to Earthquake Fatalities

January 18, 2011 Comments off

God is talking and you’re not listening…

A new assessment of global earthquake fatalities over the past three decades indicates that 83 percent of all deaths caused by the collapse of buildings during earthquakes occurred in countries considered to be unusually corrupt.

Authored by Professor Nicholas Ambraseys of the Imperial College of London and Professor Roger Bilham of the University Colorado at Boulder, the study also found that in some relatively wealthy countries where knowledge and sound business practices would be expected to prevail, the collapse of many buildings is nevertheless attributable to corrupt building practices.

A commentary piece on the subject is being published in the Jan. 13 issue of Nature.

Corrupt building practices — which are generally covert and hard to quantify — can include the use of substandard materials, poor assembly methods, the inappropriate placement of buildings and non-adherence to building codes, said the authors.

Ambraseys and Bilham used data gathered by Transparency International, a global organization based in Berlin that operates through more than 70 national chapters around the world. Transparency International annually generates a Read more…

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I Warned That Banks Will Soon Be Forced To Walk Away From Homes… Guess What!

January 18, 2011 Comments off

About 4 months ago, I claimed that In summary:

Without an economic incentive to foreclose, it would not be in the bank shareholders best interests to pursue foreclosure even though borrowers clearly defaulted & owe money to the lender. The economics of distressed assets in mortgage and commercial banking are quickly changing. I am quite open to discussing this in the mainstream media if any are interested in hearing the “Truth go Viral!” I want all to keep this in mind when pondering the release of reserves by the banks.

This was taken by many readers as sensationalist and unlikely. As a matter of fact, much of my writing is taken in a similar way, most likely due to the fact that I have an uncommon proclivity to state things exactly as I see them, sans the sucrose patina. This is not a pessimistic (bearish) outlook, nor an optimistic (bullish) outlook. It is simply called, the TRUTH! Realism! Something that is increasingly hard to come by in these days of media for a purpose and embedded agendas.

You see, the United States, much of Europe, and China have sever balance sheet issues that are ravaging their respective economic prospects. The media, analysts, and investors are gingerly mozying along as if this is not the case. Well, no matter how hard you ignore certain problems, no matte how hard you try to kick the can down the road – the issues really do not just “disappear” on their own.

With these points in mind, let’s peruse this piece I picked up from the Chicago Tribune: More banks walking away from homes, adding to housing crisis blight: the bank walkaway.

Research to be released Thursday, the first of its kind locally, identifies 1,896 “red flag” homes in Chicago — most of them are in distressed African-American neighborhoods — that appear to have been abandoned by mortgage servicers during the foreclosure process, the Woodstock Institute found.

Abandoned foreclosures are increasing Read more…

Categories: foreclosure Tags: , ,

ARkStorm: California’s Other ‘Big One’

January 18, 2011 1 comment

For emergency planning purposes, scientists unveiled a hypothetical California scenario that describes a storm that could produce up to 10 feet of rain, cause extensive flooding (in many cases overwhelming the state’s flood-protection system) and result in more than $300 billion in damage.

The “ARkStorm Scenario,” prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey and released at the ARkStorm Summit in Sacramento on Jan. 13-14, combines prehistoric geologic flood history in California with modern flood mapping and climate-change projections to produce a hypothetical, but plausible, scenario aimed at preparing the emergency response community for this type of hazard.

The USGS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the California Emergency Management Agency convened the two-day summit to engage stakeholders from across California to take action as a result of the scenario’s findings, which were developed over the last two years by more than 100 scientists and experts.

“The ARkStorm scenario is a complete picture of what that storm would do to the social and economic systems of California,” said Lucy Jones, chief scientist of the USGS Multi-Hazards Demonstration Project and architect of ARkStorm. “We think this event happens once every 100 or 200 years or so, which puts it in the same category as our big San Andreas earthquakes. The ARkStorm is essentially two Read more…

Video Game ‘Addiction’ Tied to Depression, Anxiety in Kids

January 18, 2011 Comments off

Impulsive or socially inept children more likely to get hooked, study suggests

 

MONDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) — Video game addiction among children and teens may lead to the development of psychological disorders such as depression, researchers say.

The new study found that children who are more likely to become addicted to video games (which the researchers call “pathological” video gaming) are those who spend a lot of hours playing these games, have trouble fitting in with other kids and are more impulsive than children who aren’t addicted. Once addicted to video games, children were more likely to become depressed, anxious or have other social phobias. Not surprisingly, children who were hooked on video games also saw their school performance suffer.

“What we’ve known from other studies is that video gaming addiction looks similar to other addictions. But what wasn’t clear was what comes before what. Gaming might be a secondary problem. It might be that kids who are socially awkward, who aren’t doing well in school, get depressed and then lose themselves into games. We haven’t really known if gaming is important by itself, or what puts kids at risk for becoming addicted,” said Douglas A. Gentile, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University in Ames.

Not only did the study reveal risk factors for pathological gaming, “the real surprise came from Read more…

Tunisia President’s Wife Left with 1.5 Tons of Gold

January 18, 2011 1 comment

The French government suspects that former Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his family may have fled the country with 1.5 tons of gold, French daily Le Monde reported Monday.

According to the French secret service, Leila Trabelsi, the wife of the ex-president, went to the Central Bank of Tunisia to fetch the gold bars, the paper reported.

The governor of the bank is reported to have refused to give them to her, so Trabelsi rang her husband who first also refused to help, before giving in, according to Le Monde.

“It seems that the wife of Ben Ali left with some gold, 1.5 tons or 45 million euros worth (67 million dollars),” a French politician told the paper.

But a central bank official denied receiving verbal or written orders for gold withdrawals, adding that the country’s gold reserves “have not moved,” Le Monde said.

An official from the Elysée told Le Monde that “this information comes directly from Tunisia, in particular the Central Bank. It seems to be pretty much confirmed.”

Trabelsi took a flight to Dubai, before heading to Jeddah. It is still unclear how Ben Ali left Tunisia.Gold Bars

According to Italian sources, reports suggest the former president’s airplane was in Maltese airspace without the authority to land.

There is also speculation that Ben Ali may have left Tunisia by helicopter to Malta and then taken his plane from there.

The French government believes the Libyan secret service may have helped Ben Ali flee in order to avoid violence, Le Monde reported.

 

Dubbed ‘the Imelda Marcos of the Arab world’ because of her lavish lifestyle and love of designer clothes, Leila Trabelsi is said to have demanded the gold last week as President Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali’s regime collapsed.

The chief of Tunisia’s central bank initially refused but Ben Ali, 74, personally intervened, and she flew out with the bullion as she joined him in exile in Saudi Arabia.

The source of the claim, leading Tunisian economist Moncef Cheikhrouhou, said militia men had tried to take more gold.  The clan of the former first lady is widely despised as the ultimate symbol of corruption and excess.

A former hairdresser, Mrs Ben Ali, 53, is known for her love of fast cars – the family had more than 50 – luxury homes and frequent shopping trips to Dubai, during which she is said to have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds.

While many Tunisians faced unemployment, poor living conditions and oppression from Ben Ali’s brutal regime, his family – known as ‘The Mafia’ in the North African country’s capital Tunis – is said to have amassed a £3.5billion fortune. Much of it is kept in France, where some members of the family were still holed up last night.

99% of Pregnant Women in US Test Positive for Multiple Chemicals Including Banned Ones, Study Shows

January 18, 2011 Comments off

The bodies of virtually all U.S. pregnant women carry multiple chemicals, including some banned since the 1970s and others used in common products such as non-stick cookware, processed foods and personal care products, according to a new study from UCSF. The study marks the first time that the number of chemicals to which pregnant women are exposed has been counted.

Analyzing data for 163 chemicals, researchers detected polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), phenols, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and perchlorate in 99 to 100 percent of pregnant women. Among the chemicals found in the study group were PBDEs, compounds used as flame retardants now banned in many states including California, and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane ( DDT), an organochlorine pesticide banned in Read more…

Categories: health Tags: , , ,